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Sound similar to ND legislature politics?

Also some comments on support of the bill by MN hunting organizations.

Dove season vote is wakeup call
Pioneer Press Outdoors Editor

It came down to one vote. Minnesota's best chance in decades to establish a dove-hunting season was scuttled Sunday when a House-Senate conference committee met to iron out differences in an environmental bill.

The season proposal required three votes from key senators. Two voted for it, another didn't.

The one who didn't, Sen. Dallas Sams, DFL-Staples, comes from a largely rural district where hunting is a prevalent pastime, but that didn't seem to matter.
Sams didn't immediately return phone messages for this column, but he reportedly told committee members that he wouldn't vote for the dove bill since the entire Senate hadn't voted on the bill.

Discussion and a committee vote on the dove bill took mere minutes. Though it's not entirely dead for this year, the dove bill stands little chance of passing in the current special session, observers said Tuesday.

"We're disappointed we didn't get it across the finish line, but we made if farther than we have before," said Ryan Bronson, hunter recruitment coordinator for the Department of Natural Resources. "We were only one vote short, which should be a wakeup call for sportsmen. We need to talk to our legislators about things that are important to us."

Perhaps the wakeup call should be that hunters, anglers and outdoors folks in general can't count on their allies in the Legislature to represent their interests anymore.

It's no mystery the Legislature reflects the increasingly urban makeup of Minnesota. In the past, outdoors men and women could count on rural and a handful of suburban legislators to represent their interests, but those days have faded away.

Conservation and hunting issues are not partisan, either. They cut across both parties, and both parties represented those interests well in the past. It's just that there are fewer folks in the Legislature who are connected to the outdoors.

Worse yet, there are those who throw on a duck-hunting jacket for their campaign literature but turn out to be nothing more than posers for the outdoors vote.

It didn't help that the dove-hunting issue was cloaked in much misinformation this year, especially misinformation generated by anti-hunting groups from outside of Minnesota. Some of those groups wrote lawmakers and told them that dove hunters would kill doves simply for target practice. Still others made the claim that hunters would kill doves sitting on backyard feeders.

Both assertions are, of course, absolutely false and the product of groups bent on making all hunting illegal. Still, some lawmakers swallowed the propaganda hook, line and sinker, even after the DNR presented charts, information sheets and testimony that dove hunting has no impact on dove populations and has a long tradition held in many states.

The fact that dove hunting doesn't have a tradition in Minnesota also posed a hurdle.

"For people who have hunted doves before, they seem to get fired up about the issue," said Mark LaBarbera, president of the Minnesota Outdoor Heritage Alliance. "I think the hunters who haven't hunted doves in other states don't realize the traditions and the family atmosphere that come with the activity. They don't know what they're missing."

LaBarbera said, though, he was impressed with the final lobbying effort made by hunting groups. The Minnesota Deer Hunters Association and the Ruffed Grouse Society wrote letters to lawmakers on behalf of the dove season, as well as Sportsmen Against Hunger and other groups.

"I think that's a sign of things to come," said LaBarbera, whose group was responsible for activating other groups on the issue. "MOHA plans to expand the communication network and strategize for the next session. We realize this issue doesn't come down to just one vote, but it's the entire Senate that's part of the picture."

The dove-hunting bill will be back next session, LaBarbera said, and supporters will be more organized than ever before.


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I can't believe that Minnesota missed by 1 vote. The apathy was pathetic. I have friends from Little Falls who come every year to dove hunt. They love it. I asked them if they got involed in the battle? They said they thought it was a slam dunk. I watched boards on other sites where they were crying for help in passing this legislation. I saw little or no response from Minn sportsmen. I think one problem is ignorance of the fact that it is so much fun also Minn hunters dont realize that there many areas with great dove hunting. They are missing the boat. Hope they wake up.
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